En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 16, 2007

From: evanston, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Growing native grasses in containeers in Illinois
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hi. How well would native grasses grow in container gardens in Illinois? What soil would you suggest? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Native grasses should work just fine in a container garden. One note of caution; plants in containers are far more susceptible to freeze damage than those in the ground. If you plan to overwinter your grasses in containers they will likely need some protection during hard freezes.

Two parts good garden soil mixed with one part commercial potting media makes a good container mix. Garden soil alone is usually too heavy and drains too slowly to make a good container soil. On the other hand, peat moss and perlite mixes alone tend to dry out too quickly as they don't hold water well enough. A balanced mix will usually work well for two to three years before needing to be replaced.

Here are some attractive grasses native to Illinois:

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem)

Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem)

Aristida purpurea (purple threeawn)

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana (silver beardgrass)

Bromus kalmii (arctic brome)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Indian woodoats)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye)

Koeleria macrantha (prairie Junegrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

Paspalum floridanum (Florida paspalum)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Trimming of cordgrass plants
November 20, 2007 - We have planted more than 150 cordgrass plants (spartina bakeri) along the edges of the small pond at our condominium complex to try to prevent any further soil erosion between the buildings and the p...
view the full question and answer

Grass identification books for Texas
July 17, 2010 - We live northwest of Austin, on Nameless Road. Have MANY types of native grasses--can you recommend a good book, with photos, to use in identifying? Also, what native grasses are good for attracting...
view the full question and answer

Grasses to stabilize creek bed in Bastrop County, Texas
May 06, 2011 - Hello, we have property in Bastrop county, the soil is sandy loam with clay underneath. We need to stabilize a creek bed, can you suggest any particular grasses (seed) for this? Know it's not the be...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for horses in Austin
October 27, 2012 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants We just bought 4.5 acres in Travis County off HWY 290. We have 3 horses we keep on it but there is very little grass in the pastures. What is the best type of grass to seed ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a bank too steep to mow
June 24, 2009 - Like the inquiry made in late June of 2008, mine involves a bank that is too steep to mow. However, ours is facing south. I am looking for a native grass, plant or groundcover. Any suggestions? ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center